When Elanco became involved with Heifer International ten years ago as part of its commitment to build a food secure world, I was immediately interested to support this initiative. Initially, we would hold an auction once a year at our National Sales Conference in aid of this involvement. In a good year, we would raise $2000, but I always thought that we could do more.
As a Sales Rep, I spend a significant amount of time on the road, staying at motels and eating out. A few years ago, I came up with the idea that if an employee was prepared to skip dinner, the money allocated for that meal could go to Heifer. I approached my manager with the concept, and some colleagues and I were able to get the “Do Without A Dinner” initiative up and running.
Since its inception, this initiative has raised $80,000 (AUD) in Australia and New Zealand, and has been adopted by a number of other affiliates globally. Last year, the initiative was extended to include breakfast and lunch and became “Do Without A Meal”.
The “Do Without A Meal” initiative gives all Elanco employees the opportunity to contribute to a worthwhile cause, without having to put their hands into their own pockets or to take time out of their busy schedules. Going without a restaurant or café meal certainly isn’t hard when you consider that more than 815 million people go hungry every day.
I take an “esky” (or cooler) with staples such as bread, butter, meat and cheese, and if I know the motel has a microwave, I will take frozen leftovers from home for the first night’s dinner. If it doesn’t have a microwave, I’ll have two-minute noodles instead; I always have a packet of these noodles in the car. My aim is to do without at least three meals a week.
In November last year, I was fortunate enough to join nine of my colleagues in Cambodia. It was a wonderful opportunity to witness first-hand how Heifer International is making a difference to the lives of people in a developing country, through the organisation’s core values of fostering Financial Sustainability, Institutional Sustainability (e.g. the forming of Co-ops), Environmental Sustainability and Passing on the Gift. It was amazing to see the flow on benefits that stemmed from a single clutch of hens or a pig in the small Cambodian communities we visited.
I raise a challenge to join the “Do Without A Meal” initiative and find a cause worthy of your support. By doing so, you are not only contributing to something larger than yourself, but making it personal.